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"WILLIAM VON  HUHBOLDT.                  417
we find this feeling expressed in several letters: "I
am very well/* lie writes., on the 21st Hay. 1827, from
TegeL " Except the life with my family, and a little
business relating to my private affairs, I live only in
studies and scientific pursuits/'* The agreeableness of
mere learning cannot be^ he says, an entirely strange
sensation to Gentz. He tells him. that he has paved
a new way for linguistic study for himself, which he
must diligently pursue to reach the goal towards which
he is striving. In another letter, after expresing his
desire to see and converse with Gent^ he says: tc I
have always felt an old historical interest.,         then
all human afiairs contract to very small importance. I
see the stream which sweeps away the objects more
than objects themselves, I do not think I have lost
my vivacity: it arose in me because I do not draw it
from life, care little for life, and am not unduly
partial to life. This is now more the        than ever?
though not from weariness. What formerly gave me
pleasure? inspires me with the same feeling still, but
because I am more ripe in ideas5 and with ideas one
grows beyond this life, which is not the true seat of
ideas. Besides, life is an act which not only needs to
be well commenced but well completed, and he who
is wise goes most willingly when lie is happiest. And
I am very happy—so content within and ^without,
that I have no wish which I could not attain through
mysel£ I employ myself much with science now;
but that also is only secondary, and not the principal
In the autumn of 1826 Alexander von Humboldt
came to Berlin. He was persuaded by the Mng? who
•wished to have a scientific adviser at hand,, to settle
in Berlin ,,in the course of the following year, and the
wish to live near Ms brother, from whom lie had
been so long separated, induced Mm to comply with
the king's request He returned to P^ris in De-
cember for the necessary arrangements in Ms affairs
and literary labours.
A portion of the Humboldt family left  Berlin in